Thursday, July 10, 2014

Arlington Barn Notes: July 10, 2014

                                Contact: Michael Adolphson
(847) 385-7558
Barn Notes:  Thursday, July 10, 2014    
In Today's Notes: 
  • Infinite Magic Back for more Arlington Glory
  • Block Hopes for Big Taxable Deduction Return Saturday
  • Happy to Go to Aim for Lassie
  • Proctor Stepping up Lightly Raced Avanzare in Handicap
  • Cool Cowboy Heads Salty Saturday Undercard Allowance

Infinite Magic returns to the location of arguably his best performance on Saturday in the Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap at Arlington International Racecourse.  The talented son of More than Ready, who is owned by Team Valor International and trained by Rick Mettee at his Fair Hill base in Maryland, was last seen at Arlington when taking the Grade III American Derby almost exactly a year ago.  Since, he has been winless in four consecutive events, but did run a game second in the Grade II Del Mar Derby last September. 
"We don't really know for sure how he's going to run, but we do know he's training well, even though the other day he somewhat disappointed us in his last work," reported Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin.  "Another horse ranged up and we expected him to go on, but he kept the same pace.  He doesn't seem to want to level out unless he's wearing his cheak pieces."  Infinite Magic will be wearing said equipment on Saturday.
        In the Arlington Handicap – run a sixteenth of a mile farther than the American Derby – the bay ridgling will be reunited with Channing Hill, the jockey responsible for guiding him to victory 364 days prior.  "He gets along with him well and that made sense," Irwin noted.        "We're glad to have (Hill).  Hopefully we'll get some firm turf."
        Last out, in his seasonal debut at Belmont in a 1 1/8-miles allowance, he finished fourth on yielding ground.  "He won't run well on anything but firm turf.  We were going after one race and it came up soft, so we opted out, then when (the Belmont race) came up wet, we decided to run him anyway because he needed the race.  I thought he did okay."
Looking to get back on the winning track will be a tough task, as the six-horse field includes no less than three graded stakes winners, a Grade I-placed horse and a highly regarded lightly raced gelding from the always dangerous Tom Proctor barn.  "He looks good enough and he's a fresh horse who is training well.  I hope he runs well."
        Team Block's super broodmare Taxable Deduction – already the dam of multiple graded stakes winners – could have a huge day for the aforementioned ownership and trainer Chris Block.  The daughter of Prized has 6-year-old marathon specialist Suntracer as one of the top choices in the Grade III $150,000 Stars and Stripes and the promising sophomore Afortable in the Grade III $200,000 American Derby. 
        Afortable enters the American Derby off only four starts, but has already shown he is of valuable talent.  Winning on debut over the Arlington lawn last fall, he went on to win a competitive Keeneland allowance in April before finishing third in the Grade III Arlington Classic on May 24. 
"I don't know if I can compare Suntracer and Afortable yet," Block explained.  "Afortable is still moving forward and should love the 1 3/16-miles distance and he's training really well.  Suntracer has been a hard-luck horse for about a year and a half.  He's always been knocking on the door and I think he's once again knocking on the door on Saturday.  He's training well, doing everything right and loves this surface here."
Afortable has been exercising with older horses in the mornings and impressing clockers when working with the likes of stakes winner Sweet Luca and multiple graded stakes winner General Election.  "He's not one who works really well by himself and the racing department only lets you work certain horses on the turf, so we worked him with good older horses," Block elaborated.  "I think those works – where he had to perhaps work a little harder – will help him.  I think Sweet Luca is very good right now and his work with General Election was definitely strong."
        Block – the only trainer to have charges in all four graded stakes on Saturday – sends out two talented and long-winded 4-year-old fillies in Team Block's I O Ireland and Richard Otto's Alette in the Grade III $200,000 Modesty Handicap and has Lothenbach Stable's Mister Marti Gras cross-entered in both the Arlington Handicap and Stars and Stripes, with the former looking more likely for the multiple graded stakes-winning son of Belong to Me.
Alette is an improving type coming off a good second in the off-the-turf Lincoln Heritage Handicap on June 21.  "I would have loved to have had another week between races, but I love the way she's training," Block said.  "She has to step it up, but I think the distance will be to her liking."  The daughter of Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid is out of the El Gran Senor mare Amourette, winner of the 1 3/8-miles Robert G. Dick Memorial at Delaware Park in 2001.
Speaking of pedigrees, I O Ireland is especially intriguing in the Modesty.  Her dam – another Team Block star broodmare – Ioya Two won the event in 2001 for the same connections. 
"She's doing really good and is looking great," Block said.  "It's time for her to put it all together and take a big step forward."  The daughter of Giant's Causeway – like Alette – will be aimed toward three-turn races as her career progresses. 
        Crystal Racing Enterprises locally based Happy to Go, a sharp juvenile debut winner on May 29 at Arlington International Racecourse and subsequent third-place finisher in the $125,000 My Dear Stakes at Woodbine on June 28, will focus on the Listed $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie as a meet-end goal, according to trainer Armando De La Cerda. 
"She's doing great.  She's a tough filly; a little mean in the barn, but very talented," De La Cerda said.  "She will work five-eighths (Friday) and we will run her up at Woodbine on August 9 (in the $125,000 Ontario Debutante) and then point her to the Lassie. 
"Last time she should have got second place," De La Cerda continued.  "The jockey said she broke great, but then he took hold of her and maybe had her too far back.  When she started to make her move, the horse who got second was all over the place and my filly couldn't find a spot to run."  Happy to Go, a granddaughter of A. P. Indy out of a mare by middle distance turf specialist Dove Hunt, should appreciate the additional real estate in the six-furlong Woodbine event and doubly so when possibly ascending to the Lassie's seven panels. 
D. Lanni and J. Youngblood's talented but lightly raced Avanzare is the proverbial X-factor in Saturday's short but competitive field for the Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap at Arlington International Racecourse.  A winner of four of seven races who has never been out of the exacta, the speedy son of regally bred Grand Reward will be stepping up an additional furlong in trip from his 1 1/8-miles allowance tally at Churchill Downs on June 20. 
"It's a tough race, but we'll see what happens," Proctor said.  "Trainers always have doubts (about stamina), but you never know until you try."
Avanzare turned in a solid maintenance move on July 7, going five furlongs on the Polytrack Arlington main in 1:00.80 in preparation for Saturday.  The maternal grandson of Breeders' Cup Turf champ Theatrical was originally supposed to be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, but Proctor had to call an audible when plans encountered a 'hiccup'. 
"I'll be bringing in 'DVD' for those rides – Drayden VanDyke," Proctor reported.  "He'll arrive Saturday morning after riding in California (Friday) and catching a redeye.  I just figured I would bring him because I don't like using riders I don't ride very often."
        Savoy Stable's swift and talented sophomore sprinter Cool Cowboy heads a tough seven-furlong sophomore allowance field on the stellar Arlington International Racing undercard on Saturday, complementing a tetrad of graded stakes.  Trained by Dale Bennett, the son of champion sprinter Kodiak Kowboy has landed two stakes wins in his last three starts – the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in December and the $75,000 Golden Circle Stakes at Prairie Meadows in May.
        Adding class to the field will be the presence of fellow stakes winners in Agave Racing Stable's Broadway Missile and Susan Moulton's Solitary Ranger; the latter making his first start on the Arlington Polytrack since his victory in last season's Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity over a mile.  Adding intrigue will be ex-Kentucky Governor Brereton C. Jones' Tom Proctor-trained Myositis Dan, who exits a photo-finish third – beaten only a head for the victory by recent Grade II Woody Stephens Stakes runaway winner Bayern – in the Grade III Derby Trial in April at Churchill Downs. 
"He had a little time off since the Derby Trial," Proctor said.  "You have to like (Cool Cowboy); he's probably the speed of the speed.  I hope someone hooks him – then we'll see what happens.  Hopefully my horse will move forward.  He's run good on the Polytrack before."  Two races back, in an about-seven-furlong allowance at Keeneland, the son of Istan was a skillful victor by 2 ½ lengths over the Lexington establishment's former Polytrack surface. 
David ZennerSenior Manager of Communications
Arlington International Racecourse
2200 W. Euclid Ave. Arlington Heights IL 60006-0007
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